How To Clean Patio Furniture

How to clean patio furniture from
Knowing how to clean patio furniture allows you to enjoy those warmer days and nights sitting on the patio or deck, sipping a margarita made with homemade margarita mix and listening to the sound of crickets or the happy voices of children chasing fireflies.

But let’s face it: between the spilled beverages, skin covered with greasy sunscreen, and that nasty stuff that grows on outdoor seating after a week of non-stop rain, your favorite chair can get mighty ugly. Here’s how to clean your patio furniture — or deck furniture — quickly and easily.

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When it comes to cleaning patio furniture, this is one time I don’t recommend using white vinegar since it kills plants and grass. Oxygen bleach, on the other hand, is actually safe around both plants and pets.

How To Clean Patio Furniture Made Of Vinyl/Wood

Combine 2 ounces of oxygen bleach (like Oxiclean) and one gallon of hot water. Using a microfiber cloth or large sponge, wet down every surface of the furniture. Allow to sit for 15 minutes then scrub with a stiff-bristled brush to remove mildew. Rinse and let air dry.

How To Clean Patio Furniture Made Of Metal

Oxygen bleach can corrode metal patio furniture, so in this case it’s best to use 3 tablespoons dish detergent (Original Dawn, or Sunlight for those in the UK, work best) in a bucket of hot water. Use a microfiber cloth to wash the furniture, scrubbing as needed with a brush. Rinse well and immediately wipe dry with a clean towel.

How To Clean Patio Furniture Made Of Wicker

Wicker requires a good pre-cleaning before you get it wet. Grab a brush and scrub the wicker carefully to loosen dirt and grime, or vacuum it using your machine’s dust attachment. Once pre-cleaned, clean it using the same method as described for metal patio furniture. Shake each piece after rinsing to shed as much water as possible, then allow to dry in the sun.

How To Clean Patio Furniture Cushions

Grab a cushion in each hand and clap them together to shake out as much dust as possible. Use a stiff-bristled brush to dislodge any mud or dried on substances, then vacuum to remove remaining dust.

If the cushions are small enough, you may be able to wash them in your washing machine on the delicate cycle using warm water and ordinary laundry detergent. Allow to dry in the sun before use, turning repeatedly so the cushions dry on both sides.

For heavily soiled cushions, mix equal parts water, Borax and liquid dish soap in a spray bottle. Heavily spray both sides of the cushion, especially on stains and in creases. Scrub with a stiff-bristled brush then allow them to sit for 15 minutes before rinsing well. Air dry in the sun turning frequently so they dry thoroughly.

As always, the best way to clean patio furniture is to prevent it from getting heavily soiled in the first place. You can accomplish this by spraying clean cushions with Scotch Guard to repel stains. Be sure to wipe up spills when they happen, and frequently give your furniture a wipe-down with a damp cloth to keep dust, pollen and grime from building up over the course of the season.

Equipment You May Need:



  1. says

    Dearest Katie,
    Great tips and especially considering the plants!
    Yes, life on the patio can start again and we do look forward to that.
    Just got back from our vacation to the tropics in Curaçao with daughter Liz and her husband Hans whom we had fly in from Amsterdam to join us. Such family time is way too short but it probably has to last us for a long time to come.
    Hugs to you both,

    • Katie B. says

      Hello Mariette,
      Your vacation sounds wonderful! I’m so happy you got to spend time with Liz and her husband. We’re planning to spend time with my husband’s side of the family in Minnesota this summer. As you said, family time is too short!

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